Author

Aly Semigran
Staff editor Aly Semigran is a New York City native who grew up in Philadelphia and spent the better part of her youth trying to figure out what the Philly Phanatic was (an anteater?), quoting 'The Simpsons,' and learning all about movies from her dad. After graduating from Temple University, where she studied journalism, she moved back to NYC and began her career as a freelance entertainment journalist. Her work has been published in Entertainment Weekly, Maxim, Philadelphia Weekly, Philadelphia City Paper, MTV.com, and iVillage.com. She is thrilled to be a part of the Hollywood.com team and she is still quoting 'The Simpsons.' ('I'm Idaho!')
  • Richard Dawson: Memorable 'Family Feud' Moments 
    By: Aly Semigran June 04, 2012 7:04am EST
    There is nothing, or no one, quite like the original. And Richard Dawson was the original talk show host, in every sense of the word. Dawson, who passed away at the age of 79 over the weekend after a battle with esophageal cancer, was the first — and arguably, best — host of the classic game show Family Feud.  The always, er, spirited and charming Dawson made for some of the best moments in Family Feud, nay, game show history. Whether he was cozying up to a female contestant (according to the AP, Dawson once said he was kissing them "for luck and love, that's all") or having a hearty chuckle or whip-fast joke at a contestant's wild answer the English-born comic actor and television personality set the gold standard for entertaining game show hosts. While the Feud has carried on without Dawson, who hosted when the show began in 1976 until 1985 and then once more in 1994, no one seemed to have as much fun with the guests as the Emmy-winning host did and viewers never had as much fun watching.  While Dawson's career was also marked by memorable turns on Hogan's Heroes, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Match Game and a self-parodying cameo in 1987's The Running Man, survey says it's clips of the charismatic, one-of-a-kind host during his run on Family Feud that will make fans remember him fondly. Check out some of his best Family Feud moments here:  Richard Dawson heard it all during his run as the Feud host, including the time when a female contestant answered "September" as the month in which pregnant women start showing. The blunder caused Dawson to completely lose it on air, making his laugh fest one of the funniest moments on the Feud:   His reaction to the guess of "prostitution" by another contestant was even more priceless: He would have accepted "September" or "prostitution" here, as neither of them are appliances, a concept all but lost on this contestant Dawson encountered: These ladies, on the other hand, could have given him any answer and he would have obliged them: If at first you don't succeed, eh Bob? Or, as Dawson phrased it, "You don't use narcotics, do you Bob?": What's your fondest Richard Dawson Family Feud memory? Survey says... [Photo credit: ABC]  More: Family Feud Host Richard Dawson Passes Away
  • MTV Movie Awards: 5 Things The Oscars Could Learn From Them
    By: Aly Semigran June 02, 2012 8:35am EST
    If there's anything to be said of the state of the Academy Awards over the past few years, it's that Oscar has been experiencing a bit of an identity crisis. In his old age (84, to be exact) Oscar is ping-ponging between wanting to remain the classy, albeit somewhat stodgy gold standard of awards shows in the entertainment world and desperately hoping to fit in with the cool kids. The results have proved to be erratic, at best. By changing their voting system into a much more complicated nomination process, they've alienated old school Oscar purists (not to mention let arguably less deserving films, like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, sneak their way into the once-coveted Best Picture race.) When they attempted to pull in younger audiences in 2011 by having James Franco and Anne Hathaway host, they proved just how current and hip they were by rewarding the movie that defined that very generation... The King's Speech. While MTV has undoubtedly changed their programming format over the past few years, one thing they've remained steadfast with is the MTV Movie Awards. A reliably entertaining show, the MTV Movie Awards not only knows its audience, but understands the importance if it ain't broke, don't fix. They've kept their voting the same (done by the fans) and they've kept their identity in tact (thanks to categories like Best Kiss and Best Fight.) The Oscars will never be the MTV Movie Awards, and nor should they be. But that doesn't mean they still can't learn something from their youthful counterpart. Here now, five things the Academy Awards can learn from the MTV Movie Awards: Popularity Contests Aren't Necessarily a Bad Thing This is a tricky tightrope to walk with awards shows. On one hand, it opens up your show to a much wider audience. On the other hand, it looks like you're disregarding worthy pieces of art for something that goes down easier for the masses. The Golden Globes have run into this issue time and time again. While they have the necessary comedy categories for films, they often use those to nominate movie stars, rather than performances. (Ahem, Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in The Tourist.) The Oscars haven't quite learned how to master this yet, either. After their glaring omission of Dark Knight in the Best Picture race, they changed their voting rules to make way for more mainstream fare (hence, The Blind Side.) Only, worthy mainstream fare like Bridesmaids and Harry Potter have been shut out and more "Oscar-friendly" films have continued to find their way in. This isn't to suggest that the Oscars should pull an MTV Movie Award and nominate Twilight or The Hunger Games for Best Picture (well, maybe Hunger Games). MTV nominates the movies that impacted their audiences over the past year. The Academy should be no means stop nominated worthy films like Winter's Bone, because those are the movies that made an impact on people who love movies. But, hey, so did Bridesmaids. Music is Actually Really Important Sure, it makes more sense, on paper, for MTV to feature live musical performances during their shows. It's a music network, after all. (Well, it's still in the name, anyway.) If there was one lingering complaint about the 2012 Oscar ceremony, it was the bare bones Best Song category the elimination of the musical performances. No Muppets? No mercy! Awards shows with no musical numbers can feel a little bit like a movie with no soundtrack. Lighten Up! Movies are an undeniably important art form in our society. They open us up to worlds and cultures and ways of thinking that we may have never experienced otherwise. They are both a great unifier and total escapism. The 2012 Academy Awards featured a series of montages about why movies are the most important thing on the planet and rewarded a movie about someone who felt the exact same way. While there's nothing wrong with patting yourself on the back and rewarding those who make important works of art, it's refreshing to step back and have a little perspective. And the MTV Movie Awards is nothing but a little perspective on movies. Short, But Sweet For Certain Sure, this is a universal complaint about most awards shows, but when it comes to keeping a two-hour running time, the MTV Movie Awards have stuck to it almost to the minute. If the Oscars this year felt incredibly long this year, it's because it was. (3 hours and 13 minutes, to be exact.) MTV knows they have a certain amount of time allotted and they fill it with exactly what they need. If they gave themselves a strict deadline to stick to, the Oscars could finally give us what we all want: a reasonable bedtime. This is How You Use James Franco at an Awards ShowMore: The Hunger Games, Bridesmaids Top MTV Movie Award Nominations Russell Brand to Host MTV Movie Awards Again
  • Best Spelling Bee Moments E-V-E-R
    By: Aly Semigran June 01, 2012 11:45am EST
    Once again, the Scripps National Spelling Bee made for some of the most tense, exciting drama on television. (If the Starks ever compete in a spelling bee on Game of Thrones we're all going to have a collective nerve-ratteld heart attack.) With 14-year-old Snigdha Nandipati nabbing the 2012 title after spelling the word "guetapens" (meaning "to ambush or trap" pop culture bloggers, apparently) and 6-year-old contestant Lori Anne Madison become the youngest competitor ever, it was one for the record books.  Of course, the National Spelling Bee has a history of making grown adults feel spectacularly inadequate and turning its young contestants into overnight sensations. Here now are some of the most memorable moments in spelling bee history:  Overwhelmed or biding his time? This contestant passed out, but made a full recovery and spelled this word correctly.    Sure, these kids are geniuses, but they're also still just kids. There was no more delightful reminder of that then when this adorable contestant rightfully giggled at the word "sardoodledom."    Can you repeat the word? Can you use it in a sentence? How about 17 times? Also, what in the hell is a "hairwink"?    Numnah, numb nut.  The word is "chinook," GOSH.  The entirety of the spellbinding 2002 documentary Spellbound. Seriously, rent this movie right now.    God Bless Amercia.  What's your favorite spelling bee moment? Sound off and use it in a sentence in the comments section below.  Spelling Bees
  • 'Whitney' Gets 'Friends' Showrunner On Board 
    By: Aly Semigran June 01, 2012 7:51am EST
    NBC is determined to make it work with their new girl Whitney. Despite receiving chilly reception in its first season from both critics and audiences alike (it ranked 27th among adults 18-49 with a 2.25 rating) the network not only gave Whitney Cummings' sitcom a second chance, but has recruited a new showrunner to shake things up.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, Wil Calhoun, who worked on one of NBC's greatest triumphs, Friends, will relieve executive producer Betsy Thomas from her post as showrunner. While Calhoun hasn't had a flawless track record (he's got Gary Unmarried and Kath & Kim to his credit, too) it's his Emmy-nominated work with Friends, one of NBC's all-time greatest successes, that likely got him recruited. He could just be the thing that saves Whitney from getting dropped.  Calhoun worked as a writer/producer/editor on such classic Friends episodes as "The One With the Jellyfish," "The One Where Everybody Finds Out," and "The One With Ross' Sanwich." ("My sandwich? MY SANDWICH?!") Those three episodes in particular are a good barometer for what Calhoun can bring to the table; they possess some some key elements that Whitney is missing.  "The One with the Jellyfish" put Monica way out of her comfort zone (it also set up the series' best Ross and Rachel cliffhanger); "The One Where Everybody Finds Out" used the entire ensemble to propel one of the show's biggest shifts (Monica and Chandler dating); and "The One with Ross' Sandwich" set forth a character shift that stuck. (Ross was always a bit of a spazz, but never quite like this.) It did what Friends did best, it had fun, but it also moved the story along.  On paper, Whitney has nearly the same premise as Friends, young urbanites feeling their way through life and love. But Whitney seems intent on trying to make itself a relatable voice for twenty and thirtysomething urban cohabitants. (Aren't men so clueless in relationships?! Nyuk, nyuk!) While it's not to say that Friends didn't try to root itself in some reality, it was a mammoth hit because of its lighthearted mood, broad appeal, and its instantly recognizable characters.  While Whitney has been exiled to the dreaded Friday night schedule as the lead-in to the cult comedy Community, it will be interesting to see if Calhoun can salvage the sitcom from an almost certain sophomore death.  Do you think Calhoun can make Whitney work or is the series doomed? Whitney's New Showrunner [Photo credit: NBC]  More: TV Checkup: Whitney
  • Piranha 3DD Review
    By: Aly Semigran June 01, 2012 6:47am EST
    Piranha 3DD the follow-up to 2010's over-the-top unapologetically campy horror hit Piranha 3D follows the same formula as its predecessor: gratuitous nudity + inane plot / celebrity cameos x scads of piranha-inflicted gore = movie. But this time around there's a key element missing in the equation that actually made that work. While the tongue-in-cheek Piranha poked fun at the genre and winked at the audience at the absurdity of it all Piranha 3DD is a sequel that fishes the bottom-of-the barrel with its grotesque direct-to-DVD level of entertainment. You'll want to wash it off of you as quickly as you would after taking a dip in a piranha-infested pool. This time the "story" moves from the deserted Lake Victoria which was ravaged by the killer baby piranhas the first go-round to a nearby similar sleepy lake town. Among the town's inhabitants includes Maddy (Danielle Panabaker) a marine biology student who has returned home for the summer to discover her sketchy stepdad Chet (David Koechner playing a character so vile even Todd Packer would cringe) has turned the water park they co-own into an adult playground called "Big Wet " complete with stripper lifeguards. There's also Maddy's secret admirer the nerdy and sweet Barry (Adventureland's Matt Bush) her terrible jock ex-boyfriend Kyle (Chris Zylka) and her bevy of attractive friends (30 Rock's Katrina Bowden among the lot) all of whom are nothing short of glorified piranha bait. Not caring about the razor-thin characters is the least of the movie's problems. By the time the piranhas move their way from the lake to the big boob-buoyed pools of the "Big Wet" water park by way of an underground water pump for the big finale moviegoers will have already endured a 3D vomit sequence a man severing his own penis with a knife and a Gary Busey cameo that uses a cow fart sight gag as its big payoff. Any remaining willpower to watch bloodied guests try to swim to safety as the poorly CGI'ed piranhas rip away chunks of flesh has all but gone. Perhaps the most shocking thing about the movie however is how much it dials back the violence from the original. If the first one made your stomach turn this one will too — just for very different reasons. The scares here are scarce but the laughs even more so. Piranha 3DD relies heavily on its celebrity cameos for any comic relief including the aforementioned Busey as well as turns from Christopher Lloyd Ving Rhames and Paul Scheer all reviving their roles from the original. (Adam Scott Richard Dreyfuss Jerry O'Connell and Eli Roth are likely thanking their lucky stars their characters bit it in Piranha 3D.) The only laughs (and it's more of a mildly amused chuckle at best) will likely come from the appearance by Baywatch's David Hasselhoff playing himself as a celebrity lifeguard who visits the doomed water park. A self-parodying Hasselhoff bemoans his presence there and as an audience member you almost can't help but feel the same way: that even David Hasselhoff is above this.
  • Quoi? Mary-Kate Olsen Reportedly Dating Olivier Sarkozy
    By: Aly Semigran May 31, 2012 11:22am EST
    The long-awaited follow-up to Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen's 1999 direct-to-video classic Passport to Paris has finally arrived! In their latest international romp, Sacre Two!, Ashley opens up the New York Post to find she is dating former French president Nicolas Sarkozy's 42-year-old half-brother Olivier Sarkozy. No, wait, that's Mary-Kate. Even they can't tell each other apart! What a wacky misunderstanding! After Mary-Kate shows Olivier some good, old-fashioned American fun (Memorial Day in the Hamptons! Attending Knicks games! Hanging out with Dave Coulier, probably!), they take their jet-setting romance to Paris. Cue the French montage, complete with the "head over heels" Olivier and 25-year-old MK (or wait, is that Ashley? Seriously, can people actually tell them apart?) wearing striped shirts and berets, riding their bikes to visit Nicolas and talk international relations with him over baguettes and champagne. Critics rave, "I really don't know what to make of this!", "Wait, what?" and "Which one is Mary-Kate again?"! Coming soon to an episode of TMZ this summer near you! [Photo credit: WENN.com] More: 8 Child Actors and Their First Grown-Up Roles Ashley Olsen Retires From Acting at 25
  • Torture Me Elmo: 'Sesame Street' Songs Reportedly Used To Crack Gitmo Detainees
    By: Aly Semigran May 31, 2012 6:49am EST
    What frazzled parents, older siblings, and babysitters have had to endure for years was reportedly used as a torture device to break detainees at Guantanamo Bay. But it wasn't repeated viewings of Dora the Explorer or unrelenting requests to go to the toy store (though it would certainly do the trick.) According to Al Jazeera, music from the classic, beloved educational series Sesame Street was used to at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Mahna manna. Prisoners were reportedly attached to chairs with headphones on — with music from Sesame Street, among others — repeatedly at full volume, sometimes for days on end. Mahna mahna. A former detainee relayed to Al Jazeera, "it was probably some of the worst torture that they faced." Mahna mahna. Perhaps just as shocking as the idea of using something typically so positive and turning it into "a potent weapon" is the use of Sesame Street. On the spectrum of kiddie entertainment, the PBS staple probably one of the least torturous. Still, being asked "Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?" or told to "Put Down the Duckie" at an ear-shattering volume for days on end would be hell. Music from Barney or The Wiggles or The Teletubbies or Yo Gabba Gabba ("Cool! Cool! Cool Tricks!"), however, could crack just about anyone. Just ask those aforementioned frazzled parents, older siblings, and babysitters. What do you think the ultimate torture song would be? "The Macarena"? The Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out?" The entire Nickleback collection? Sound off in the comments section below. More: Katy Perry Evicted From Sesame Street John Krasinski Stops By Sesame Street Sesame Street Bosses on the Hunt for the First Gordon Sesame Street Torture
  • Michelle Obama Visits 'The Daily Show' — VIDEO
    By: Aly Semigran May 30, 2012 7:11am EST
    In terms of making memorable, funny, and sincere television appearances, First Lady Michelle Obama gets a bipartisan vote: she's a late night talk show guest powerhouse. Between besting Jimmy Fallon in a potato sack race and getting Jay Leno to eat his vegetables (which was apparently just as difficult an undertaking as getting children to eat their vegetables) the First Lady went joke-for-joke with Jon Stewart during her most recent visit to The Daily Show. Even Stewart himself marveled, "You did very well... I see what [President Barack Obama] sees in you." On hand to promote her healthy eating book American Grown, the First Lady effortlessly segued from serious chats about her husband's decision-making process in the White House ("Really, when it comes down to it, when you're making those judgment calls all you have is your character, your value, your vision for this country and I see him being so consistent") to joking around with Stewart about having her kids around Unkie Joe Biden and President Obama's high school behavior. But it was when The Daily Show host brought up the subject of Mrs. Obama's approval ratings being higher than her husband's that she really proved her talk show chops. After the modest First Lady assured him she didn't throw her approval ratings in President Obama's face, Stewart cracked that she has the "ice cream" equivalent of ratings, to which she replied that her husband's are like "vegetables." A well-timed joke and a book promotion tie-in all at once? We approve. Watch both parts of the interview below:  The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on FacebookThe Daily Show with Jon Stewart Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook [Image: Comedy Central] More: Michelle Obama Beats Jimmy Fallon in a Potato Sack Race — VIDEO Michelle Obama Makes Jay Leno Eat His First Vegetable in a Decade Michelle Obama Visits iCarly
  • 'Piranha 3DD' Star Katrina Bowden Talks Gross-Out Scenes and the David Hasselhoff Cameo
    By: Aly Semigran May 30, 2012 6:46am EST
    "I'm not very good at handling scary movies....It's the kind of stuff that usually makes my skin crawl." In that case, Katrina Bowden is in some serious trouble. The 22-year-old actress — best known to 30 Rock fans as Cerie, TGS' token hot girl/source of Lutz's unrepentant misery — stars in one of this summer's skin-crawliest movies, Piranha 3DD, the follow-up to 2010's campy horror comedy hit Piranha 3D. In fact, it's horror-weary Bowden, who chatted with Hollywood.com about her work on Piranha 3DD, that endures one of the movie's most squirm-worthy moments. After her character Shelby takes a dip in her town's mutant piranha-infested waters she and her boyfriend Josh (Jean Luc-Bilodeau) learn the hard way that they didn't exactly escape the unforgiving chomp of the monsters. While the two...get intimate, a piranha that has made a home gestating in — brace yourselves — Shelby's insides, makes its way out by clamping its razor-sharp teeth on Josh's, well, bait and tackle. Bowden admits, "My only thought when I read [the script] was, 'What am I getting myself in to?'" But it wasn't simply the great piranha escape that psyched Bowden out for the scene. "For me, [love] scenes in general, are really difficult. [They] are really uncomfortable for everyone until it's over. So this one especially, there were a lot more elements to make it even more uncomfortable," she says. Still, Bowden (pictured with co-star Meagan Tandy) got through the shoot, which included "flesh colored underwear with a prosthetic piranha hanging off it...it looked so gross and realistic" and assures gross-out weary moviegoers, the scene in question is "the right amount of ridiculous." "The right amount of ridiculous" is what Dimension Films is likely hoping draws in fans of the original Piranha and newcomers alike, especially thanks to the additions of David Hasselhoff and Gary Busey. While Bowden didn't get to work with either of the stars during the North Carolina shoot, she promises their outrageous cameos (Busey plays a fisherman who has an unfortunate run-in with the creatures and Hasselhoff plays himself, acting as a celebrity lifeguard at a waterpark) are entertaining.  "I was just excited to see what they did," Bowden tells Hollywood.com, "I have to say, David Hasslehoff is one of the funniest parts of the movie, he did a really good job poking fun at himself. He obviously had a blast doing it." Just in case piranha births and self-aware Hasslehoff cameos weren't enough to up the over-the-top ante, there's still the 3D element. Bowden, who is appearing in another 3D feature this year (Nurse 3D, alongside Paz de la Huerta,) confirms Piranha 3DD makes the most of the technology in the most absurd ways imaginable. "[There's] a puke scene in it [that] was purely for 3D...... As crazy as the first one was, this one is crazier." Okay, we'll bite. Piranha 3DD opens in theaters on June 1. [Photo credit: Dimension Films] More: 30 Rock Renewed! 30 Rock Star Katrina Bowden Joins American Reunion Piranha 3DD Nabs 30 Rock's Katrina Bowden
  • Latest 'True Blood' Promo: Thirsty Thursday 
    By: Aly Semigran May 29, 2012 9:04am EST
    If Sookie's Thursdays are reserved for a rendezvous with a blood-thirsty 3,000-year-old vampire, then our Sundays are reserved for watching all that delicious, demented True Blood madness unfold. With a little less than two weeks until the Season 5 premiere of the wildly popular series, HBO has quenched our thirst for the saga with a new trailer. In the second preview, fans get a glimpse at the return of Denis O'Hare's Russell, the rise of Chris Meloni's Roman, and — yum — Joe Manganiello's Alcide. (Okay, that didn't fit the alliteration, but who cares?) Check out the gory, sexy minute-and-a-half True Blood trailer below and get ready to flash a fanged smile at Anna Paquin's Sookie's already classic line about her Thursday night agenda. Jeez, is it Sunday, June 10 yet? This waiting really — you guessed it — bites.   [Photo credit: HBO]  More: True Blood Teaser: Eric Turns On Pam True Blood Season 5 Trailer: Who is Sookie K-I-S-S-I-N-G Now? True Blood Star Christopher Meloni Shows His Fangs